Ghent Festival.

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Gentse Feesten (in Ghent dialect Gense Fieste “The Ghent Festival”) is a music and theatre festival in the city of Ghent (map).

After more than 175 years of existence, the Ghent Festivities have become one of the best festivals in Europe. Four international festivals take place there over a period of ten days, with free music on 10 squares, children’s entertainment at various different locations in the city and hundreds of indoor and outdoor activities.

The last day (always a Sunday) is known as de dag van de lege portemonnees (“the day of the empty wallets”) alluding to the fact that many people have spent their last penny at the festival and is seen by the people of Ghent as “their” day while visitors leave.

The first Gentse Feesten was held in 1843, about 400 people attended. In the beginning the festival consisted of one stage near the Saint Jacobs Church. Since the late eighties the festival has grown now covers the whole inner city of Ghent. Although the festival has become a mass event, it has retained some of the rebellious and anarchistic atmosphere of the early days.

About 2 million visitors attend the festival every year, making it one of the biggest cultural and popular festivals in Europe. The number of visitors on top nights surpasses 250,000. In a 2005 ranking by, the Gentse Feesten was called the third biggest city festival in Europe, preceded by the Fallas in Valencia and the Oktoberfest in Munich.

A tradition every year is a procession of what are called the de stroppendragers (literally “the noose carriers”) where a number of Ghent citizens make a solemn procession with a noose around their necks that begins and ends at the medieval Gravensteen castle (map) where the nooses are thrown into a fire.

During recent years there are a number of side festivals that have chosen Gentse Feesten as an opportunity to hold separate, specialised events – some free, some ticketed. They include three international events: Miramiro, formerly known as the International Street Theatre Festival; the International Puppetbuskersfestival which is, you guessed it, an event by puppeteers; and Boomtown Festival is a pop music festival with both international and local acts.

The center of Ghent is quite small, so you can walk around on foot. However, the main station (Gent Sint-Pieters, map) is not in the city center, but takes a walk of about half an hour. The best option is to take the tram, which takes you directly to the center in 10 to 15 minutes.


Public transport.

Information about all types of public transport.

Smart Mobility Planner | door-to-door routeplanner for the whole country, covering all forms of public transport.

Also сheck оut мore info: Public Transport in Ghent ( • Public Transport (

BUS: De Lijn operates bus and tram services throughout Flanders, while the Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport (SRWT/Tec) operates services in Wallonia. Brussels has its own public transport company called STIB/MIVB, which operates buses, trams, and the metro within the city.

TRAIN: Ghent is a 30-minute train ride away from Brussels and is on the line from Brussels to Bruges and the coast. – Use the official journey planner operated by the National Railway Company of Belgium to find train itineraries and prices. + ThalysSNCFEurostarDeutsche Bahn

AIRPORT: Brussels Airport, also known as Zaventem due to the town in which it is mainly located, is Belgium’s main airport. Brussels South Charleroi Airport, about 50 km (31 mi) south of Brussels, mostly serves low-cost carriers.

Ghent Festival – Belgium’s BEST kept secret | Gentsefeesten.

Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten) is an amazing 10 day event occurring in Ghent, Belgium every July.

Ghent closes off the center of the city and sets up a massive festival with food, drink, rides, games, and performances of all types. It’s completely free to walk into the event and enjoy the performances!

We had an amazing time exploring, partying to the music, watching a variety of dances, chatting with locals and discovering all of Belgium’s buskers. As a note, many of the verbal performances like the comedy shows are in Dutch. This is the best way to experience Ghent!

video source: Flyer Saga / /

Useful websites.

Links to additional resources with useful information for planning your trip.


Apply for a visitor visa. Find out what document you need to travel, visit family and friends, do business, or transit through Belgium.

Mobility Planner.

On the app, door-to-door routeplanner for the whole country, covering all forms of public transport (train, tram, bus, metro).

Brussels Museums.

Brussels Museums ( is the non-profit association that brings together more than 120 museums in Brussels.

Smart Mobility Planner – door-to-door routeplanner for the whole country, covering all forms of public transport. – web’s most comprehensive guide to Belgian beers and breweries written especially for beer aficionados. – restaurant search engine and reviews for all Belgium.

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